March 2, 2022

March 01, 2022 - Immersion Tracking, Avalanche Recovery, and Vacation Mode

Hello all!

We’ve been hard at work on some long-awaited features intended to make it easier to track your immersion, get back to your studies when you’ve been away for too long, and be able to take a break when you won’t be able to access NativShark.

There’s a lot to get into, so let’s jump in.

Immersion Tracking

As some of you may know, we had a system in place before to track your time spent with native materials and speaking practice, but it didn’t work quite how we wanted it to in its practical implementation. It required you to know ahead of time what you were doing and to run a timer on the site to ensure your time was tracked correctly.

We have decided to restructure how you record your time spent with native materials as well as give you more control over what you have recored in the past. We’ve created a new immersion page to manage this.

Better ways to organize

Your native materials are now organized on a project-level basis.

By project, we mean things like the title of the series you are reading, or the name of the show that you are watching. This allows you to know at-a-glance what you’ve spent the most time doing as well as quickly add new entries.

More detailed tracking

When logging time in a project, you are now able to choose the date as well as enter the exact amount of time. In addition to this, you can add details about the entry, such as which page you read up to, or which volume you were reading.

Full Control

In addition to being able to log your entries in more detail, you now have full control over the entries you have created in the past. You can edit any entry after the fact, edit project names, remove previous entries, and delete entire projects. This ensures that you can keep a clean, focused log of what you’ve done in Japanese.

Avalanche Recovery

One of the most highly requested features is finally coming to NativShark. As some people may not be familiar with the term “avalanche” used in the context of SRS systems, allow us to elaborate a bit.

An “avalanche” describes the situation where ‘assigned’ reviews pile up to the point that you feel overwhelmed and are de-motivated to continue.

Depending on your personal tolerance, this could be as many as 1,000 reviews, or as little as 65 reviews, as an example. When this happens, people usually write their studies off as a lost cause and stop progressing or maintaining their studies.

Avalanche recovery allows us to get back into our studies by having a manageable amount of reviews over time, easing us back into new content once our reviews are brought back under control.

Now let us talk about how avalanche recovery works in the context of NativShark.

Restrained control

One of the things that we have to balance with every feature we release is how much control to give to users and how much to keep as system controlled. We’re always heavily focused on what can provide the right balance of individual customization and seamlessness / low decision fatigue for our students. We certainly want to help students avoid accidentally, by nature of something we designed, get themselves in a place that is hard to recover from, negatively impacting their studies. Due to this, we have decided on a couple of restrictions with regards to avalanche recovery.

Enable / Disable

You can enable and disable avalanche recovery at will. If disabled, you will not be notified of an avalanche.

Detection Percentage

Your detection percentage changes the amount of reviews the system considers to be an avalanche. This is a percentage based on your review threshold and can scale between 120% and 250%. As you tweak this percentage, you will be notified of the minimum number of reviews required to trigger avalanche recovery.

Here’s a few example values so you can see the way it works.

-Review Threshold: 50Avalanche Detection %: 120

Avalanche is detected at 60 or more reviews

Review Threshold: 100Avalanche Detection %: 250

Avalanche is detected at 250 or more reviews

Review Threshold: 25Avalanche Detection %: 140Avalanche is detected at 35 or more reviews

Recover how you want

Once the system detects an avalanche, you will notice a new addition to the top of your study dashboard. We alert you that an avalanche has been detected and allow you to act on it in a couple of different ways.

The first way is to simply recover from the avalanche. In doing so, you are presented with detailed information on what will happen to your account once you recover. When you recover, the system will distribute your reviews over time based on your threshold.

We have links on the site explaining more about this process; we encourage you to read those guides so that you fully understand how the system works.

The second way to recover is to do your reviews without rebalancing them. As you can see from the image above, the system does not prevent you from reviewing as you normally would, allowing you to put in some extra time to get caught back up if that is the approach that you want.

Lastly, when it comes to avalanches, note that the process isnotautomatic. We will detect an avalanche and alert you when it happens on the dashboard, but the system will not automatically rebalance your reviews for you.

This way you have the option to use avalanche recovery, or not. That said, we strongly encourage to use it when available and set your avalanche tolerance to what feels like a fitting number for you to stay motivated and stick with it.

A side effect of this system, should you set the tolerance a bit "lower", is that over time it could create a more stable pace of reviews as you continue to recover.

Vacation Mode

The last of the large features included in today’s update is vacation mode. As some of you may have experienced in the past, until now the only way to take a step away from NativShark was to reach out in the community and have Jacob manually keep track of the time that you were gone, and then manually adjust all of your data when you got back. Or just loose your streak and have your reviews pile up, with no way to recover those! Clearly not a very sustainable approach 😅 As of now, the process can happen without any intervention from the team!

Let’s talk a bit about how this mode works.

Relax with peace of mind

In your Study Settings, you will now see a new Vacation Mode area. We recommend reading the guide written in the link, but we want to call out a few things about how vacation mode works.

  1. Vacation modedoes notpause your subscription. You will be charged as normal.
  2. Vacation mode will automatically end after 21 days.
  3. If vacation mode ends you can immediately start it again should you need to, but this will have to be done manually by you.
  4. While on vacation, you can only browse lessons and flashcards.

Clear communication

While on vacation, your timeline is replaced with a card clearly when vacation mode will automatically end. You also have the option to end the vacation at any time before that date. In addition to this, you will also receive three emails throughout the course of your vacation:

  • One email when vacation mode starts
  • One email 7 days before your vacation will automatically end
  • One email when your vacation mode ends (either by you ending it or the system ending it automatically)

When your vacation ends, your reviews are all shifted based on how long your vacation was and your streak is kept as it was before you left, allowing you to pick up from where you left off.

One thing to note is that you will lose your streak saver (if you had it), meaning you will have to review for 2 days for it to come back.

Integrations Begin

We have also begun partnering with other services to offer integrations that allow users of NativShark to seamlessly share what they’ve learned with various services, as well as allow NativShark to know what users have learned with other systems. The first integration that we have released is with Satori Reader. But more are on the way 👀

Satori Reader

Satori Reader is a product offered by the creators of the Human Japanese series aimed at providing Japanese learners with level-appropriate reading and listening materials. They have a large collection of professionally written and recorded stories, scenarios, and situations at all difficulty levels as well as a built-in dictionary and SRS system to reinforce what you read.

Once you connect Satori Reader and NativShark, all of your kanji progress from NativShark will be synced with Satori Reader.

In addition to this, NativShark users can get a special discount from Satori Reader as part of our partnership (and vice-versa).

You can see this integration and more on our integrations page.

Bug Fixes

We have also had various bug fixes and tweaks to the site, a couple of which we wish to highlight below:

  • Fixed an issue with streaks where streaks would not be properly reset after being archived.
  • Made the FAQ page more visible by moving it into the main navigation (under the user menu on desktop).

What’s Next

We’re hard at work on more features such as new tools for reviewing, an easier way to find content on the site, as well as an overhaul of the shadow loop system. Though we don’t have precise release dates on these yet, know that they are underway! Caleb usually puts out tweets when things are getting close if you’re curious in more of the day to day.

As always, thank you all for your support and feedback every day. We are building this system for you and hope that these updates improve your experience and help you continue your studies with consistency.

Until next update~!

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